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Full text of "Rapid Population Growth Consequences And Policy Implications"

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to a mixed outlook. The more developed countries and areas should be able to accommodate the maximum population growth projected for them with due allowance for increasing levels of living, at least as far as quantities of resource products are concerned. This accommodation will not happen automatically, however. Scientific and technological advance will have to continue so that new sources of certain resources can be found and utilized and so that cheaper and more plentiful substitute materials can be made available; the channels of world trade will have to be kept sufficiently open so that raw material requirements that cannot be met domestically can be satisfied by imports; careful planning and adequate development investments will continue to be necessary, as will expanded programs of conservation. But there should be enough of the essential raw materials to permit the more developed regions to cope with population increase through the remaining decades of this century, and probably well beyond that.
Eventually any positive rate of population increase will lead to the absurdity of no more standing room on the earth's surface. Long before this comes about, social, psychological, or even biological checks to population increase will no doubt have occurred. It is the task of foresight and planning to set in motion activities which will make more extreme reactions and corrections unnecessary. The recent policy statement of President Nixon regarding population and family planning indicates the growing concern of national leaders with the problems of "overpopulation" even in the United States.
Less Developed Countries
For the less developed countries the outlook in the quantitative sense cannot be as favorable; it will remain in doubt, awaiting the success or failure of measures to check population growth, and programs to increase the supply of food, energy commodities, and other items. We come to the conclusion that the outlook is not as dark as it is frequently painted although the possibility of securing enough food for the underfed 2 billion or more people will remain in doubt for some years to come. Well-conceived plans and strenuous efforts will be necessary, primarily in the poor and less developed countries themselves. Of course, technical and financial assistance from the wealthier nations can help.
In energy and metal commodities the outlook is more favorable, based on recent production trends and on the outlook for discoveries and development, although even here there will be difficulty at times with regard to particular items. For purposes of human consumption, industry, and agriculture there appears to be enough of sheer global water supply; the issuems, recognizing from the outset that the two are closely interconnected in the real world. Our major attention has been on world regions and especially economically less developed to be incomplete.